Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Trailer Park Tuesday: On the Road

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.  Unless their last name is Grisham or King, authors will probably never see their trailers on the big screen at the local cineplex.  And that's a shame because a lot of hard work goes into producing these short marriages between book and video.  So, if you like what you see, please spread the word and help these videos go viral.

Lolita.   Naked Lunch.   A Confederacy of Dunces.  These are all landmarks of 20th-century literature which share at least one thing in common: I've never read them.  Add Jack Kerouac's On the Road to that list.  That's right, I've never snapped my fingers to his beat.  Even my daughter is ahead of me on this one--last summer, she borrowed my battered paperback copy of On the Road and returned it to me three weeks later, breathless and eyes all a-glitter.  She'd loved it so much, the front cover literally fell off.  I never really understood the big deal about Kerouac.  It's almost like he's president of a secret clubhouse and I don't know the password.  Maybe Walter Salles' movie will help me crack the code.  The film has been a long time coming--since 1957 when Kerouac wrote a letter to Marlon Brando, saying he could play Dean Moriarty while Kerouac himself would play Sal Paradise.  Nothing ever came of that and the project languished until Francis Ford Coppola bought the rights to the book in 1979.  Over the years, several attempts were made to get it off the ground.  Coppola hired writers like Barry Gifford, Michael Herr and Russell Banks and toyed with casting Brad Pitt, Ethan Hawke and Colin Farrell.  Still, On the Road languished at a rest stop.  It wasn't until Coppola saw Salles' 2004 movie The Motorcycle Diaries that the current project clicked into place and filming began in 2010.  The trailer has two personalities--a frenetic jazz-soaked half which shows how Paradise and Moriarty meet, and a more somber poetry-infused half which should appeal to the book's fans as it shows On the Road's legendary scroll coming off Paradise's typewriter and a voice-over which recites: "The only people that interest me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night."  The movie stars Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart (with the tease of a topless scene in the front seat) and opens later this year after making its bow at the Cannes Film Festival.  What do you think?  Will On the Road burn like a roman candle, or will it fizzle and flop?

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